Jury gets chance to hear Elizabeth Holmes’ bold promises

Oct 22, 2021, 4:26 AM | Updated: 5:02 pm
FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, file photo, Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, a...

FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, file photo, Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, arrives at the federal courthouse for jury selection in her trial, in San Jose, Calif. A jury weighing the fate of fallen Silicon Valley star Holmes got its first chance Friday, Oct. 22, to listen to recordings of her boasting to investors about purported breakthroughs in a blood-testing technology. (AP Photo/Nic Coury, File)

(AP Photo/Nic Coury, File)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A jury weighing the fate of fallen Silicon Valley star Elizabeth Holmes got its first chance Friday to listen to recordings of her boasting to investors about purported breakthroughs in a blood-testing technology.

The technology heralded as a quantum leap in blood testing, however, later dissolved into a scandal that now threatens to send her to prison.

The drama unfolded in a San Jose, California, courtroom with federal prosecutors playing a series of recordings from a December 2013 conference call that Holmes held with investors in Theranos, the company she started in 2003 after dropping out of college at 19 in hopes of becoming a revered visionary in the mold of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

The audio clips of Holmes capped the sixth week of a high-profile trial revolving around allegations that Holmes duped sophisticated investors and major retailers with bogus promises about a Theranos device dubbed Edison. The company’s machine was supposed to be able to quickly scan for hundreds of potential health problems with a few drops of blood taken with a finger prick.

In the recordings, Holmes — speaking in a husky voice that some critics said she adopted to sound more authoritative — boasted about partnerships with big pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer that evidence in the trial has revealed didn’t pan out. She also mentioned contracts that never materialized because Theranos couldn’t get the Edison to work properly. The device’s repeated failures disillusioned former U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, a former Theranos board member ally who testified earlier in the trial.

“We could establish what has the opportunity to be the largest lab in the country,” Holmes told investors in one of the clips played Friday. She laid out that ambition just a few months after Theranos had struck a deal to set up blood-testing “wellness centers” in Walgreens stores across the country.

But Theranos wound up in only 40 Walgreens stores. After investing $140 million in Theranos, Walgreens wound up ending the Theranos alliance in 2016, not long after a series of explosive articles in The Wall Street Journal and regulatory audits exposed chronic flaws in the blood-testing technology.

Before everything blew up, Holmes raised hundreds of millions of dollars from a list of investors that included billionaires such as media mogul Rupert Murdoch, the Walton family behind Walmart, and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison. The clips played Friday were recorded by Bryan Tolbert, an adviser to Dallas real estate developer Carl Hall, who invested $7 million in Theranos.

The flurry of investments at one point valued privately held Theranos at $9 billion, including a $4.5 billion stake owned by Holmes. Now she is facing up to 20 years in prison if she is convicted in a trial that is scheduled to continue until late this year.

As she has done throughout the trial, Holmes on Friday sat stoically alongside her lawyers while her voice filled the courtroom. She has yet to have a reason to speak during the trial, though her attorneys have signaled she make eventually take the witness stand to defend her actions as Theranos’ CEO.

Holmes, 37, has denied any wrongdoing, and blamed any misconduct on her former boyfriend, Ramesh “Sunny” Bulwani, who was Theranos’ chief operating officer. In court documents, Holmes’ lawyers have asserted she was manipulated by Bulwani, a charge his lawyer has vehemently denied. Bulwani faces a separate trial next year.

The jury that listened raptly to the recordings of Holmes was whittled down Friday when U.S. District Judge Edward Davila dismissed one member for an undisclosed reason. Originally composed of 17 people, including five alternates, the jury is now down to 10 men and four women.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - In this April 20, 2021, file photo Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., speaks in Brooklyn Center, Minn...
Associated Press

Boebert in call refuses to apologize for anti-Muslim remarks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Days after firebrand conservative Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado was harshly criticized for making anti-Muslim comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat whom she likened to a bomb-carrying terrorist, the two spoke by phone Monday. By both lawmakers’ accounts, it did not go well. The conversation, which Boebert sought after issuing […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

UK spies seek help from tech firms against cyber threats

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s spies must give up some of their deep-rooted secrecy and seek help from tech firms to combat fast-moving cyber threats, the head of the U.K’s foreign intelligence agency says. MI6 chief Richard Moore says the agency has to “become more open to stay secret” in a world of destabilizing technological changes. […]
16 hours ago
Actor Jussie Smollett arrives Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for jury s...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: What charges does Jussie Smollett face at trial?

CHICAGO (AP) — The twists, turns and oddities of the legal saga surrounding Jussie Smollett’s claim in 2019 that he was the target of a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago have culminated in an actual trial, which enters its first full day of testimony Tuesday. Initial charges brought in February 2019 that accused the […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Gene Sperling, who leads the oversight for distributing funds from President Joe Biden's $1....
Associated Press

States, cities running out of rental assistance monies

Several large states and cities have exhausted their federal rental assistance, the Treasury Department said Monday, in a sign that spending on a massive program aimed at averting evictions has picked up speed. The federal government is forecasting that upwards of $30 billion or about two-thirds of money allocated for rental assistance will be disbursed […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Pizza delivery man dies in eastern Indiana porch collapse

CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A pizza delivery driver died after a porch collapsed while he was making a delivery in eastern Indiana, police said. Connersville Police Department officers Saturday night found that William Fields, 45, of Connersville, had fallen through what appeared to be a collapsed porch. Fields had been pinned by heavy debris and […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf speaks at a news conference in Oakland, Calif., on July 26, 2021....
Associated Press

Oakland mayor seeks to reverse police cuts amid crime spike

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In a reversal of plans to divert funding from police to social services, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Monday that she’ll push to reverse planned cuts to the city’s police department and seek to quickly hire more officers amid a spike in violence and homicides that has left some residents afraid […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Jury gets chance to hear Elizabeth Holmes’ bold promises